UPDATE: Received from Sister Myra – Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Hello everyone and greetings from El Paso!
I want to share just a short note of how I am experiencing my life here at Nazareth House, our place of work.
Each day we experience many small and large miracles. We spend the day receiving the refugees coming to seek asylum or trying to find work. We house them, feed them and cloth them. We then work with them, making a plan for them to go one more step beyond to a place of family or friends in the States. God, the angels and saints are giving us many miracles that pop up every day.
We experience the miracles of getting the refugees off to their destination by air or by bus, and getting volunteer drivers to get them to the bus station or airport. (It is very hard to get drivers).
I believe in the multiplication of the loaves and fishes after this first week of work. The miracle of finding, cooking and serving enough food was a peak for us.
The miracle of many religious orders that have answered to call to come, and have come, at the right time.
Above all, the miracle of God’s love and compassion, being given to us. We have experienced courage, faith and hope.
Finally the miracle of all working together in a huge common cause. Incredible friendships have blossomed in such a short time.
Please continue to keep us in prayer. I will have many stories to tell you, both beautiful ones and sad ones.
I love you all. Please excuse any mistakes; I am not used to this computer.
Sisters answering the call to help refugees
At the invitation of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), Aberdeen Presentation Sister, Sister Myra Remily, is responding to the call to assist the refugees and immigrants arriving at the El Paso border.
Sister Myra, along with Clarice Korger, OSB Yankton and Maura McCarthy, PBVM Dubuque, will be volunteering for two weeks at Annunciation House in El Paso, TX.
A nonprofit, volunteer organization, Annunciation House is deeply embedded in and shaped by the US-Mexico border region, and provides basic services and accompaniment to the poorest of the poor, who appear most frequently in the form of migrants and refugees.
In a document dated November 2, 2018, Annunciation House stated, “At the present moment, the flow of arriving refugees has increased to about 2,000 per week and it’s anticipated that in the short-term, this weekly average will increase. All of the refugees coming to Annunciation House are families and individuals that Immigration did not place in one of their detention facilities. The vast majority of refugees released are parents with one or two children.”
In this same document it states, “Annunciation House is categorically opposed to the detention of refugees that pose no security risk to the US. Annunciation House is also opposed to the incredibly cruel practice of separating families and detaining part of a family. Finally, Annunciation House is opposed to the practice of releasing families to the street instead of to hospitality houses or centers thereby ensuring that they have a place to sleep, eat, shower, change clothing, etc. On Tuesday, October 23, Immigration announced a border-wide policy of releasing refugee families to the street if NGOs were unable to receive them in shelters. The implementation of this policy was seen on Friday, October 26 when some 125 refugees were released to the street in the evening in downtown El Paso. That evening Annunciation House was able to secure, on an emergency basis, a church building to receive those refugees. So to prevent the release of refugees to the street, Annunciation House has been expanding the network of Temporary Hospitality Centers. Unless these centers are operational, ICE (Immigration and Custom Enforcement) will release these refugees into the street. The mantra of Annunciation House has become, ‘Not one refugee to the street.’”
Presently, Annunciation House is overseeing 13 Temporary Hospitality Centers and directly operating 7 of these Hospitality Centers, all of which are staffed by volunteers. Annunciation House provides both short and long-term hospitality (most families stay between 24 to 96 hours). The goal is to meet the families’ most basic needs including meals and clean up, toiletries and towels, clean bedding, travel arrangement assistance, medical needs, etc. They also assist the arriving families in making contact with relatives or friends in the US so the relatives/friends can arrange travel accommodations.
Sister Myra’s fluency in Spanish and love of the Latino culture began when she was a missionary in both Mexico and Bolivia, places she served for over 15 years. Since returning to the US in 2006, she has been assisting the newly arriving Latino population in Aberdeen and the Northeast area of SD.
Sister Myra will be sending periodic updates from El Paso. Please check back for updates.